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Born: 1970, Bangkok, Thailand
Lives and Works: Bangkok
Apichatpong Weerasethakul is the foremost independent experimental filmmaker to have emerged from Thailand. His beguiling films and installations draw on Thai society's deep-rooted reverence for the realm of the supernatural, Buddhist themes of previous and future incarnations, and popular soap operas. Time is frequently rendered fluid and layered, and apparently ordinary episodes slide into slumberous "Once upon a time..." folktales. Weerasethakul's works are often haunted by mirroring, splitting, and doubling—both structurally and through rhymed images and transformations. In Weerasethakul's world, linear narrative is usurped by ambience, and his characteristic use of extended takes and sumptuous tracking shots suggests a meditative approach to cinematic consciousness. He conjures an intensely personal spell of truth and fiction. The four-screen installation Unknown Forces (2007) functions as an indirect account of Thailand's shifting demographics and work practices. Consisting mostly of a static shot of the back of a sun-baked pickup truck as it carries a group of nomadic laborers, it gives voice to a "voiceless" workforce through storytelling, humor, and dance.
Links: Apichatpong Weersethakul on Internet Movie Database (IMDb); Apichatpong Weersethakul exhibition at REDCAT; Apichatpong Weersethakul at Kick the Machine; Apichatpong Weersethakul film series at Harvard Film Archives